Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Weardale Perfection

Thursday's Guardian Country Diary describes the discovery of the 'Weardale Perfection' daffodil and its rescue from the brink of extinction.

This tall and exceptionally large daffodil, with an ivory-white perianth than can be as much as five inches in diameter and a long lemon yellow trumpet, was bred by William Backhouse, who once lived at St.John's in an austere country house on the edge of Pikestone fell, high above Wolsingham. Backhouse came from a wealthy family of bankers who were also noted for their extensive tree planting in Weardale, but William was especially famous as a daffodil hybridist.

'Weardale Perfection' a late-flowering cultivar, was his finest achievement but he never lived to see it flower. He died in 1869 and when it flowered in 1872 it was named by his son. Its robust growth and large flowers made it something of a sensation amongst Victorian daffodil enthusiasts, but in the 20th. century it fell out of fashion and was thought to be extinct. Then, about a decade ago, a surviving bulb was discovered in the garden of the local district nurse and it has since been propagated.

Bulbs of the daffodil was planted  in Wolsingham parish churchyard in 2007 and it is now flourishing amongst the headstones - a living memorial to a local flower breeder who never survived to enjoy the admiration heaped in 'Weardale Perfection' by daffodil connoisseurs.


  1. Daffodil perfection. I do like the colours. What luck that it was saved from extinction.

    1. I bet they'd look really good in a vase too ..